There was a time when “spendthrift” meant spending too much money for something that wasn’t necessary. This was when we were both working and earning good salaries. Summer vacations were when we really spent money. Great restaurants, jewelry, clothing, hotels, airfare. We worked hard. We deserved it. We still work hard, for our age and we still deserve it.
We did most of our summering on Martha’s Vineyard. We shared a house with a lot of other people — which made it sort of affordable. At the end of the season, everything went on sale, so I would buy all the Christmas presents in August on the Vineyard. People got interesting stuff.
Now we don’t go to the Vineyard — and we also don’t give much in the way of Christmas gifts, either. If someone really needs it, we can’t afford it. If we can afford it, they don’t need it.
Basically, these days, being a spendthrift would mean spending any money for anything unrelated to fixing the house. There’s no “fun money” lying around. Being a spendthrift was a lot more fun than being “house poor.” Although I dearly love our new bathroom, I wouldn’t object to a vacation, either.
I’d like to get some good graphics software for my MacBook Air, but all the good “full service” software that normally works on a Mac won’t work on this one. The MacBook Air is the lightest weight “real” computer made. It’s incredibly light. To make it so lightweight, Mac removed a lot of stuff. It weighs less than my more solid (older) 10-inch Kindle with its Bluetooth speaker. It also has a very small hard drive (half a gig SSD) and it feels kind of fragile. I’m very protective of it because I don’t think it would survive a serious fall onto a hard surface.
I wanted it so I could process photos while we were out of town. Without hauling the big Dell which weighs like a cinderblock. As it turns out, I can’t do it anyway. Either the hard drive is too small and the application won’t fit, or it doesn’t have the right graphics processor. Everything in the machine is rather miniature. It wouldn’t make much of a difference if it weren’t for photography. Photographs use a LOT of space.
I’ve been saved from myself. Most of what I want doesn’t exist.
Except for the vacation. I’d really like a long vacation. But we’ve got three dogs, two of whom are getting old. I’m not comfortable leaving them for long periods of time.
Never mind. We’ll save tons of money and enjoy that new shower!
When Garry came into the bedroom, I was staring at the radio. Garry takes his hearing aids off at night, so we have bedtime conversations at high volume. Shouting, really.
“Why are you staring at the radio?”
“I’m trying to figure out if it’s on. Oh, it just started to make noise. It’s on.”
“But why are you staring at it?”
“I thought if I stared at it for a while, it would start to play. Or not. One way or the other, I would find out what the red light means.”
“What red light, and why are you staring at it? How will staring at it help?”
“That’s how I figure things out. It didn’t come with instructions.”
Pause. “Have you taken any drugs?”
“No. See, there’s the red light. I didn’t if know the red light means the CD player is on or off. I had to wait to see if it started playing. I was pretty sure a blinking red light means pause, but I wasn’t sure what a steady red light means. I waited when there was no light. Nothing happened. So I tried it the other way. Now it’s making noise. Therefore, the red light means it’s on. It’s slow getting started.”
I wasn’t trying to be funny, but Garry started to laugh and couldn’t stop. “That’s the sort of thing I would do,” he said,
“Well, how else would I know what the red light means?”
He laughed some more.
Garry thinks I know a lot of stuff I don’t really know, especially about technical issues. I push buttons. If staring (and waiting) doesn’t fix what’s broken, I push another button. Or push the same button again. Or hold the button for a couple of seconds and see if it does something different.
While I’m waiting, I watch. Intently. Maybe I’ll get a message. Isn’t this how everyone fixes stuff? I used to look things up in the manual, but since no one supplies a manual anymore, it’s more art than science.
My husband finds this hilarious.
I spend a lot of time staring at computers, waiting for something — anything — to happen. Hoping an idea will occur to me or for the system to reboot. To see if a blue screen will recur, or the diagnostic will tell me there’s no problem, even though I’m sure there is.
I am waiting for a message.
I must be doing something right. Beethoven is playing on the CD player/radio. And most of the time, the computers work.
Do you prefer Apple (‘I’ products) or Android for your technology ‘fix’?
I work primarily on a PC. I like the organization and I also appreciate the huge amounts of functional software I can get for it. I have an android (Samsung) phone which I use when I need it (not often) and three Kindles (probably more like five — a think a couple are just buried somewhere) which I use to read and listen to audio books and sometimes, to watch a movie. Mostly to read or listen.
I also have an “air” Mac. I bought it so I’d have something a bit less weighty to haul with me when I travel. I don’t do much with it, at least in part because finding decent graphics applications has turned out to be much harder than it should be. I won’t “rent” Photoshop and my disks won’t run on a Mac. I got a program for it, but haven’t gotten around to installing it and I’m sure I’ll be sorry about that in due course.
As for music? I have a CD/radio player because we have quite a few CDs. We also have a lot of DVDs and we watch them, too. I’m not a wild fan of “the cloud.” I can’t tell you how many times having something downloaded has made it possible to listen or watch or read — without cable being involved. It’s very freeing.
I like having parts of my life NOT connected to wi-fi. I’ve worked with computers enough to know what they are good for … and what they are not good for and I certainly don’t want one running my entire life!
What’s something on your personal bucket list?
Don’t have a bucket list.
What would you name your boat if you had one? The Unsinkable 3? The Please Don’t Sink? Your choice! Also, what would it look like? Do you want a motor yacht, a sailboat, or perhaps a dinghy?
I had a boat. A 16-foot centerboard sailboat built originally to race but used by us mostly to drift through channels on Long Island’s south shore.
We named it “Gwaihir,” the Wind Lord (eagle) from Lord of the Rings. Kind of a big name for such a small boat 😀
Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?
Anyone from a Jane Austen novel. I am not a fan.
What brought gratitude, a smile or laughter to your life this week?
Getting out to take photographs on the only sunny day of the week AND discovering that Garry can hear!
If I thought that maybe I had finally gotten my online life under control, I was wrong. Again. It’s just getting worse and worse and there is no end in sight.
I just got this message.
As one of our registered users, we bring to your attention that on June 4, 2018, at 1pm EST we became aware of a data breach involving 92.3 million email addresses of MyHeritage users, and their hashed passwords (these are not actual passwords).
We learned about the breach when MyHeritage’s Chief Information Security Officer received a message from a security researcher that he had found a file named MyHeritage containing email addresses and hashed passwords, on a private server outside of MyHeritage. Our Information Security Team received the file from the security researcher, reviewed it, and confirmed that its contents originated from MyHeritage and included all the email addresses of users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017, and their hashed passwords. We made a public announcement about the breach within 8 hours of learning about it.
Your email address was one of the accounts in the data breach.
Immediately upon receipt of the file, MyHeritage’s Information Security Team analyzed the file and began an investigation to determine how its contents were obtained and to identify any potential exploitation of the MyHeritage system. We determined that the file was legitimate and included the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92,283,889 users who had signed up to MyHeritage up to and including Oct 26, 2017 which is the date of the breach. MyHeritage does not store user passwords, but rather a one-way hash of each password, in which the hash key differs for each customer. This means that anyone gaining access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords.
That is more than 92 MILLION PEOPLE whose email addresses — at the least — have been breached. There is more to this information including that they are sure no one really got passwords. I’d like to believe them, but since this hack was way back last October and I’m only hearing about it NOW, I don’t know what to believe. At least they don’t store credit card numbers. I suppose I should be grateful at least for that … but do they now have my DNA results? They say not, but they could. AND my husband’s.
You want to know how we get hacked? This is it. Companies get hacked. Half the time, they don’t know they’ve been hacked until months later, after which they do everything in their power to cover it up.
Hackers don’t need to breach our personal computers. All they need is information they get from hacking the companies with whom we work. I’m beginning to wonder who has NOT been hacked. Which company I use has thus far been spared.
Has any large company been spared?
Anything that sounds too good to be true isn’t true. Anyone giving you something for free is lying. Calls from Microsoft or the make of your computer (Dell, for example, or Mac for another)?
It’s a hack.
I got a call from “Dell Customer Service” this morning. Although Dell hasn’t announced a breach, I’m guessing there has been one yet to be announced because hackers have my computers basic serial numbers– which unlike a password, are embedded in the computer. As are numbers for every computer made. That’s how we can identify where the information came from and to whence it is going.
There IS no safety as far as I can tell. Don’t talk to anyone on the phone if you have no reason to expect the call. If you have not contacted them and asked for a return call and given them a code word so you know it is actually the real people calling, HANG UP. No conversation. Don’t be cute. Don’t play mind games. Hang up. Immediately.
On another — yet somehow parallel concept — Donald Trump, our erstwhile national leader, seems to think he can trust Kim Jun On to “do the right thing” vis-à-vis nuclear arms. Right.
You can find plenty of information about this in the news almost every night. Multiple attempts by many governments to locate these guys and take them down are always underway. The problem is, there are a lot of them. Many are funded by the Russians and for all know, other hostile governments.
Does everyone think these guys hacked our election, then quit hacking?
They’ve hacked (that I know of): Equifax, Bank of America, Adobe, Lands End, Amazon, Facebook … and probably a lot more than that, but these I know about because they have all been in touch with me to warn me.
Forget about the dozens of television series that deal with this issue. If you read a newspaper or watch the news, the information is not exactly secret. The busting of these hacker rings has been major news for at least three years and probably longer, so if you’ve missed it … you should catch up. Hackers thrive on people who don’t understand what’s going on. That’s why they pick on the elderly so often.
Essentially, it all happened in one afternoon. Anyone whose identity has been stolen can understand how quickly your financial life can fall apart. Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me. I lost no money, although I had to spend $90 on a new router. I also spent a lot of time rebuilding my computer, but since I did it myself, it didn’t cost me anything.
Should credit card companies be more on the alert? Absolutely. They are pretty sharp even now. Far more alert than our so-called government who seem collectively helpless to fix this. I think they don’t want to fix it, but what do I know, right?
Anyone can call Experion, Equifax, or TransUnion and ask that they put your credit on alert. You can do this automatically on the phone and you only have to call one company who will alert the other two. If one of you has been hacked or think you might be in danger, you don’t have to wait until they have hacked your accounts before you deal with it.
Once you’ve set up an alert, all credit companies must contact you directly before granting credit in your name or changing your address, telephone number, email address, or password. I can’t even count the number of people who’ve been hacked on Facebook — had their accounts stolen. I think someone stole my Twitter account, but since I never used it, I didn’t know about it for weeks.
If you think you are safe because nothing like this has ever happened to you, you are naïve. It can — does — happen to everyone. Anyone. Young. Old. Retired. Poor. Rich. It hurts more when you are poor, but it won’t stop the hackers. If you’ve got any money, they’ll take it and leave you with nothing.
These are not people with a conscience or a sense of right and wrong. They don’t care what happens to you. They do not care if they kill you in the process, either.
So, here’s the timeline:
1. Facebook gave my personal data to Cambridge Analytica. For a fee, I’m sure. I know this because Facebook told me they did it. They didn’t seem upset about and felt I shouldn’t be either. Right.
2. Cambridge Analytica sold my data to hackers, most of whom are supported by the Russians.
3. They got more information by hacking my home router. This had already happened in Europe, but no one mentioned it on our news, so we didn’t know. By the time they did mention it, it was 24 hours too late for me.
4. They pretended to be a different company and had sufficient data to make me think they might be real. When they demanded money to protect my computer, I instantly knew they were hackers.
5. They attempted to take money from a bank who controlled 3 credit separate cards, two of which I knew about. I stopped the transfers and they never got anything. The final one I only discovered today, but again, I’m covered, so no loss to me.
6. They locked my computer and demanded $1000 to “protect” it. Talk about a mobster move! Not a snowball’s chance in hell. There’s no guarantee if you give them money they will release your computer anyway and I’ll bet they don’t. Not exactly trustworthy guys.
7. To get my computer back, I had to rebuild it. From scratch. Which was not so bad — boring but not difficult. Because I back up my files, I was able to restore everything. In all, I lost one document, but I can live with it.
8. I had to buy a new router with a protective patch.
Does this mean they can’t get me — or you — again? Of course not. These hackers are gigantic organizations heavily funded by Russian money. if they can hack Equifax, they can bypass my protection on a whim. And the places they operate are glad to have them. They hire people. They are a big business.
At the bottom of my personal mess is Facebook. They casually took my personal data and sold it to hackers.
Facebook made this happen. Our government helped them by refusing to go after the hackers. If you think Trump is a good guy, remember he and his team have protected these guys from the get-go. They have allowed the hacking, encouraged it, and supported it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are also getting paid off.
You could be next. They may already have your number.
The self-driving vehicle is on the way. It’s on the news and in the news. A few accidents. One death. But considering the number of accidents just backing out of a driveway in suburbia, that’s pretty good.
I can actually see a day coming when Robert Heinlein’s vision will have arrived. Not exactly as he predicted, but close enough for folk music.
We could definitely use a self-driving car because neither one of us wants to drive anywhere, but we are driving a not-yet-paid-for second-hand 2012 Jeep Patriot, so a self-driving car doesn’t look likely to appear for us.
Autonomous cars would be great. Finally, we could blame everything on computers. Nothing would be anyone’s fault. The manufacturer’s of colliding cars could duke it out in court and all we’d have to do is recover from being slammed by a 40-foot moving van. Anyway, by then, medicine will be free. I know this because we are all moving in the direction of more freedom for all Americans.
We aren’t? Did I mis-hear the news again?
However much an autonomous self-driving vehicle would solve many issues, an autonomous, self-repairing, self-cleaning housewould really do the job! If a tile on the roof gets damaged, the technology will grow another in its place. You’ll never know it happened. The furnace, will operate on hydrogen drawn from well-water and will never need filling. Rugs will be permanently free of dog hair, grit, pollen, and mud.
Pipes would never clog.
Of course, this presumes that we continue to get rain and have wells and aquifers. And we don’t turn into a charred desert or return to the Cretaceous period and have to live in trees.
Mostly, I want the autonomous house where everything gets fixed and I don’t have to figure out how to pay for it or even know I have a problem.
This whole “take care of your house” and “please don’t back into anything” is getting old.
I don’t think ANY of us should be driving. We are too distracted. Overly busy with phones, not to mention worries, conversations, and work. There are too many cars. Everywhere. Even where there aren’t a lot of people, there are still too many cars.
MAKE IT ALL AUTONOMOUS.
Anything you can run without needing me to do it, I’m a BIG yes. Please do not send me a bill.
So my clone went to the police station this morning to report being hacked. It wasn’t a crime because I was massively inconvenienced, but nothing was stolen. They tried, they failed.
I spent all day yesterday until the wee hours of the morning trying to reconstruct my computer. It’s now about 75% done. I take long periods off because I really hate this part of computing. It’s just boring and you sit for a long time watching percentages very slowly going up, finding the latest version of whatever software you used to use and you try to install like you did, but for some reason, this time is doesn’t want to install.
Some stuff has disappeared entirely and you realize you really don’t remember most of your passwords. Consider the possibility of getting one of the pieces of software that saves your passwords … but what if something happens and IT goes missing — taking all your passwords with it? Don’t tell me it can’t happen. It definitely can, has, and will again in the future.
It turns out, the policeman with whom I was speaking got hacked too and his computer is in the same lock down mine was in. Lucky guy, because I know how to fix it. It is very easy, insanely boring and takes FOREVER. No hard choices to make and no requirements of knowing anything about computers. Mostly what you need is endless patience.
I told him. He was figuring he was going to have to go buy a new computer, so maybe I saved him a thousand dollars or so. It felt good to know something useful to someone else.
There’s a lot of this going around and there will always be more to come. I pointed out that Charter, our Uxbridge cable company (we don’t get a choice, someone made a deal and we live with it) has a firewall which — in theory — should have stopped this. But Adobe was hacked. Experion was hacked. Bank of America was hacked.
Given one thing or another expecting Charter to protect us was stupid, but I wasn’t thinking about getting hacked. Viruses and worms — but HACKING? Seriously? Me?
I was afraid of viruses and worms, but not hacking. Why would anyone bother to hack me? We have no money and we are no one special.
Apparently this is a totally random venture. Because no matter who you are, these rat bastards can try to squeeze a little money out of you.
All my credit cards are fraud-protected. I lost nothing. They were also on the ball. Amazon and Walmart stopped the crooks before I knew they were there, while we were at the hospital. Which was when most of this was going on. I’m not sure if my being home would have made a difference. I wasn’t, so it doesn’t matter.
I promised the people at PayPal that I’d go to the police and report it because, she says, they collect the data and it’s important if we want to ever get rid of these rats.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!